Press release

New Alexander von Humboldt Professors selected

Five researchers from abroad have been selected to receive Germany’s most valuable international research award in 2021 and make the move to Cologne, Dresden, Leipzig, Potsdam and Tübingen.

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updated on 1 Juli 2020

A biophysicist, a robotics expert, a psychologist, a microbiologist and a hydrologist have been chosen to receive Germany’s most valuable international research award. Each Alexander von Humboldt Professorship comes with up to €5 million in funding. The Alexander von Humboldt Professorship is granted to eminent researchers of all disciplines who have been working in other countries up to this time. They will be expected to conduct cutting-edge research at German universities on a long-term basis. The newly-selected award winners are currently conducting research in Japan, the Netherlands, the USA and the United Kingdom. The funding that comes with the award is earmarked for the first five years of their research in Germany. The Humboldt Professorship is granted by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and financed by Germany's Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

Award ceremony in may 2021

The new award winners were chosen from a total of nine nominated researchers from Brazil, China, Japan, the Netherlands, the USA and the United Kingdom. They will now embark on appointment negotiations with the German universities that nominated them. If the researchers accept the Humboldt Professorship, the award will be conferred in May 2021.

  • The biophysicist Oskar Hallatschek was nominated by Leipzig University. He is currently conducting research at the University of California, Berkeley, USA.
  • The robotics expert Christoph Keplinger from the University of Colorado Boulder, USA, was nominated by Technische Universität Dresden.
  • The psychologist Kou Murayama from the University of Reading, United Kingdom, was nominated by the University of Tübingen.
  • The microbiologist Bart Thomma from Wageningen University in the Netherlands was nominated by the University of Cologne.
  • The hydrologist Thorsten Wagener was nominated by the University of Potsdam. He is presently conducting research at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom.

The Humboldt Professorship enables German universities to offer top international researchers competitive conditions for research and helps them raise their own international profiles in the global research market at the same time. The award is granted on the precondition that the new Humboldt Professors are given long-term prospects for their research in Germany. Additional Humboldt Professorships will be available in the field of artificial intelligence until the year 2024. To date, a total of 80 researchers, including 15 women, have been appointed to a Humboldt Professorship, facilitating the move to Germany.

Further information, photos and video portraits of current and upcoming Humboldt Professors are available at here.

(press release 9/2020)

Every year, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation enables more than 2,000 researchers from all over the world to spend time conducting research in Germany. The Foundation maintains an interdisciplinary network of well over 30,000 Humboldtians in more than 140 countries around the world – including 61 Nobel Prize winners.

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